Blueskying a Social Media Platform for the Arts

Hosted by
the Social Media Narratives Class
Art and Technology Studies
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Facebook and Google Groups
November 7 - 12, 2019

Ellen Sandor
Artist, Founding Director of (art)n, chair of the Gene Siskel Film Center

image of Ellen

Ellen Sandor is a new media artist and Founding Director of (art)n. Sandor’s PHSCologram sculptures and installations with (art)n have been exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Victoria & Albert Museum, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art–The University of Oklahoma, and others. Commissions include Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust; Smithsonian Institutionl; City of Chicago Public Art Program; and State of Illinois Art-in-Architecture Program. As a Visiting Scholar of Culture and Society, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she co-edited and contributed to New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts. Sandor also co-authored U.S. and international patents awarded for the PHSCologram process, and related papers published in Computers & Graphics, IEEE, and SPIE.

She is on the Board of Eyebeam and Board Chair, Gene Siskel Film Center, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She serves on the Board of Governors, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a Life Trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2012, she received the Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts through Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and in 2013, received the Gene Siskel Film Center Outstanding Leadership Award. Sandor is also co-founder of the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection. In 2014, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2016, she was awarded Fermilab's Artist in Residence. She was honored by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 2017 for her longstanding commitment to integrating art and science.

A vast untapped potential to richly engage with our shared cultural heritage

At (art)n, we have an early 1990s history of creating one of the first virtual galleries of our portfolio and web-based exhibitions that juxtaposed relevant art historical pieces with our growing body of work. We also used the web for many of our PHSCologram collaborations and commissioned installations, pre-social media, to log our research, visually chart our progress, and communicate with our clients/collaborators involved with the project. It was one of the few ways we could’ve done and continue to do cutting edge work.

For me personally, social media has been beneficial for enhancing connections with family, friends, colleagues and members of the arts community. I always strive to post positive, encouraging content to inspire meaningful connections between artists and our community at large. Because I wear many hats as an artist, non-for-profit board leader & member, wife/mother/grandmother, etc.–time management becomes a challenge. I found that social media has seriously helped me in this area even though there are other challenges. The future of art depends upon more engagement between artists, patrons, curators, educators, and the general public, especially intergenerational dialogues. Using social media as a framework for collaboration that supports tolerance, diversity, and inclusion helps us all to be more receptive to each other’s authenticity, to lean in, to find resonance with each other, and uncover new ways to be engaged in a better world of our own co-creating.

Social media has an ephemeral, in the moment nature that generates excitement and audience, but also needs to organically find its own staying power. The present moment in which something is posted rapidly becomes part of the immediate past. There still remains a vast untapped potential to richly engage with our shared cultural heritage, in which artists (and scientists) can still be the trailblazers of the future within a rich, art historical context across millennia.

In today’s culture, anyone can curate their own gallery of their images, but to do it in such a way that makes an impactful, socially conscious statement, inspires inner growth, builds a bridge for deeper connection, harnesses historical contexts, or breaks open a whole new world of transformative ideas–these are a few trails for the arts community to tread with social media.

Transcript of Ellen Sandor's Facebook and Google Docs conversations
for the Issues in Social Media for the Arts 2019 panel

Judy Malloy:
Introduction to the Panel

Overviews, Ideas, Histories, and Observations

from Policy Makers and Advocates

Juana Guzman
National Arts Consultant and Arts Advocate

Dal Yong Jin
Professor, School of Communication at Simon Fraser University

Richard Lowenberg
Founding Director of the 1st-Mile Institute, and of NM Broadband for All

Marisa Parham
Professor of English, Amherst College, Director of the Immersive Reality Lab

Ellen Sandor
Founding Director of (art)n, chair of the Gene Siskel Film Center

from: Artists/Educators

Adriene Jenik
Artist, Professor of Intermedia in the School of Art, Arizona State University

Tom Klinkowstein
President, Media A LLC, Professor, Hofstra University, Adj. Professor, Pratt Institute

Wendel A. White
Photographer, Distinguished Professor of Art, Stockton University

from Artists/Designers

Deanne Achong
Artist and Designer

Tommer Peterson
Theatre Artist and Designer

from Curators and Critics

George Fifield
Founder and Director of Boston Cyberarts

Isobel Harbison
Art Critic and Lecturer in the Department of Art

SAIC ATS Class in Social Media Narrative
Vee Nyah Culton, Terrell Davis, Adriana Guillen Santalla, Samuel Han, Xavier Hughes, Yoon Joong Hwang, Olivia Paige Johnson, Mara Iskander Mirzan, Keun Mok Park, Richard Park, Wayne P. Tate, Ruby Hana Williams, and July Yoon

SAIC ATS Part-time Faculty: Judy Malloy